Navasota wanted a fast start in District 13-4A, but the Rattlers struggled to find consistency out of the byeweek losing 50-28 to the Smithville Tigers.
Striking first, Navasota capitalized on an interception by Ja’marion Frear. Ja’mar Jessie connected with Xavier Steptoe for a 56-yard touchdown. A Juan Vargas kick gave the Rattlers a 7-0 advantage.
Smithville answered on a 17-yard pass to tie the game. Navasota pulled back ahead on a pair of huge runs by Jessie, capped by a 27-yard touchdown run.
An 8-yard pass and twopoint conversion to start the second quarter gave Smithville a one-point advantage, 15-14.
Jessie was running at will with 106 yards on 11 carries, before being sidelined in the second quarter with a leg injury. “That was a big blow to us tonight,” said Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “Before he got hurt he was running the ball pretty much at will and we were getting the looks we wanted with light boxes and they were playing lots of man coverage. We took what they gave us. It was just an unfortunate thing that happened.” Jessie also completed all five pass attempts for 75 yards.
Navasota regained the lead for the final time on a 14-yard run by Frear. Vargas kicked the point-after for a 21-15 lead.
Smithville scored three consecutive touchdowns, the first two on passes of 51, and 58 yards before halftime. The third was an 8-yard pass in the third quarter giving the Tigers a 36-21 lead.
Sophomore Hudson Minor, a quarterback on the junior-varsity team, was moved to varsity to play safety. When Jessie went down he was forced to move under center. Minor connected with Kaddon Hubbard in the third quarter on a deep 71-yard score.
“I was proud of Hudson. He stepped in and played really well,” explained Dacus. “It’s tough on a sopho more and this past week we moved him to safety, so he got all those reps at safety and very few at quarterback. For him to step into this environment and have to play, I was proud of him and thought he completed really well.”
Smithville capped the scoring on a pair of passes, a 20-yarder in the third and 23-yarder in the fourth.
Navasota looks to pick up their first district win Friday, Oct. 15, as they travel to La Grange to battle the Leopards. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. Smithville will host Gonzalez.